It used to be that practitioners of the pickup truck were those who genuinely needed them.
We’re talking tradespeople and farmers here – folks whose jobs would be far more difficult without their trucks. That they were oversized and inefficient (the trucks, not the people) came with the territory.
Then something changed – not that those same people no longer drive pickups, but rather they were joined en masse by doctors and lawyers and nurses and salespeople. Everyone wants a truck these days, or so it seems, which is why the 2022 Ford F-150 Tremor exists. It’s not as if the trail-inspired Tremor can’t do traditional truck stuff, but it’s squarely aimed at shoppers who probably want pickups more than those who explicitly need them.
Fuel Economy: 5/10
Look, I’m not here to dunk on anyone dreaming of parking any pickup truck in their driveway, let alone Ford’s ever-popular F-150. But among the realities of doing so is a hefty fuel bill, and one that’s only made more expensive by the stuff that comes with this trim.
The only engine offered is a twin-turbocharged V6, while mild suspension upgrades and meaty all-terrain tires add up to an estimated combined consumption average of 13.2 L/100 km compared to 12.1 for the same truck without the add-ons. This week-long test, meanwhile, returned a consumption rate of 13.7 across some 600 km, with the vast majority of the time spent on the highway and with the four-wheel drive system disconnected.
Getting back to those off-road extras, what the Tremor comes with for its roughly $65,000 pre-tax starting price is trim-specific suspension tuning – unique shocks all around, plus revised hub knuckles and control arms up front – and 33-inch General Grabber all-terrain tires, plus some skid plates underneath to protect vital components, and a bunch of styling upgrades. Inside, there are six overhead auxiliary switches that can be wired to run stuff like off-road lights or a winch.
Otherwise, the front seats aren’t heated – those are part of an upgrade package – while the infotainment system is run through an eight-inch touchscreen that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a subscription-based Wi-Fi hotspot. The so-called Tremor Mid Equipment Group ($5,550) comes with heated front seats, as well as a 12-inch touchscreen and other goodies like the full trailer tow kit and the ability to lock the inside rear brake for a tighter turning circle when off-roading.
This tester came fitted with the Tremor High package ($16,570) that includes all that plus an upgraded transfer case for the four-wheel drive system, power-adjustable pedals and steering wheel, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and steering wheel, and leather upholstery with the Tremor wordmark embroidered in the seatbacks. Further options here include a two-kilowatt inverter ($1,300) that turns the truck into a mobile generator, a panoramic sunroof ($1,750), and a limited-slip front differential ($675), plus a power tailgate ($800), 12-speaker stereo ($800), and a few others.
Add it all up, and suddenly this is a $90,000 truck. Well, $90,660 before tax, if we’re being specific. That’s more than an F-150 Platinum that does without the off-road extras but comes with all of those creature comforts and more. Looking at it another way, the starting price of this Tremor is about the same as the Lariat trim that comes with most of what’s included in the expensive upgrade package added to this tester.
In fairness, the starting price – which is $65,240, including a $2,095 freight charge that can’t be negotiated – is less than those of similar off-road lite offerings like the Ram 1500 Rebel and GMC Sierra AT4, while the Chevrolet Silverado Trail Boss is cheaper than all of them. Of course, just like with this Ford, options can push those prices higher, easily reaching into the same $90,000 territory as this.
Ford claims the Tremor can pull 4,944 kg (10,900 lb), which is a ton of weight. Well, it’s actually almost 5.5 tons of weight…
Getting back on track, a locking rear differential and the same four-wheel drive transfer case as the Raptor enhance this truck’s off-pavement prowess, while it stands slightly taller than the rest of the F-150 lineup – with the exception of the Raptor, of course – courtesy of its big tires and tweaked suspension. It can also be had with electronic goodies like that trail turn system and an off-road cruise control-type drive mode.
Otherwise, it’s a typical truck by modern standards. It comes in a single configuration, with its crew cab providing tons of occupant space front and back, plus a 5-foot-5 bed bolted to the back. Payload is rated at 855 kg (1,885 lb), although that doesn’t factor in any of the options added to this tester that will put a dent in that limit.
The Tremor kit’s styling tweaks are subtle, but they’re unquestionably cool. Simple bedside stickers and a badge on the back boast the Tremor name, while cutouts in the colour-matched bumper show off twin exhaust tips to go with a couple tow hooks. Up front, a couple more recovery points are finished in an anodized yellow, as is a strip across the grille and details in the fender vents on either side.
There’s more yellow detail inside, although in the base version it’s limited to stitching on the sides of the seats and a couple tabs on either end of the dash. The first of the upgrade packages adds Tremor logos to the front seats, while the priciest one includes the same treatment in the back to go with yellow piping all around.
Unlike just about every other F-150 trim – again, Raptor notwithstanding – there’s no option to upgrade the engine here. It’s not as if it needs one, though, with a twin-turbo V6 under the hood that generates 400 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. The 3.5L mostly behaves like a naturally-aspirated engine, although turbo lag is detectable low in the rev range under light throttle application. Even so, a hearty stomp of the pedal will solve that problem, with all that torque coming on strong.
Driving Feel: 7/10
Having spent a fair amount of time in the latest-gen F-150 since its launch, what stands out to me most about the Tremor pack is the squishiness that comes with it. The chunky tread blocks of the tires combined with the trim-specific suspension stuff make the truck noticeably more spongy and tippier when turning than the rest of the lineup. The same is true of the smaller Ranger with the Tremor treatment, and while it wouldn’t be right to describe either as unnerving, there’s certainly a sense of instability the average truck doesn’t have.
The steering provides very little feel and feedback overall while braking performance is decent, although it requires a relatively deep stab of the pedal to initiate. Let that be a note to those with plans to tow, with the extra weight hooked up to the back exaggerating that sensation even more.
While the suspension’s softness sometimes helps enhance ride quality, more often than not the heavy wheels and tires tug at the suspension over broken asphalt, leading to some pulsing and shaking that can be felt through the frame and steering rack. Riding on those tires and their chunky tread blocks means quite a bit of extra noise, particularly at moderate speeds, while the massive door mirrors create quite a bit of wind noise on the highway, although the cabin is fairly pleasant otherwise – at least with upgrades like the heated and ventilated front seats and dual-zone automatic climate control system.
User Friendliness: 9/10
That climate system is operated via a bank of physical controls, including a button to adjust the strength of the airflow when in auto mode. It’s a refreshingly old school approach.
The 12-inch touchscreen is bright and reasonably responsive, while the interface itself is easy to learn. Best of all, both smartphone mirroring systems are of the wireless variety, so there’s no need to plug a smartphone in to have it hooked up. While neither Apple CarPlay or Android Auto occupy the entire screen, the roughly one third that’s left can be cycled through a variety of displays ranging from pitch and roll angles to audio sources.
This truck’s numerous advanced safety systems can be controlled through the touchscreen, too. Standard stuff includes forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and keeping assistance, and automatic high-beam control.
Upgrades include adaptive cruise control that works in stop-and-go traffic, plus evasive steering assistance, lane-centring, speed limit recognition, and junction turning assistance, plus a further package that comes with hands-free functionality for the adaptive cruise control and a self-parking system. Diving into the infotainment menu allows the various features to be turned on or off, as well as the sensitivity to be adjusted. It’s a level of customization that’s not especially common.
Despite run-away pickup truck pricing, there’s some comfort to be found in the way the 2022 Ford F-150 Tremor can be specced to a particular shopper’s preference – although the best stuff is unsurprisingly saved for the most expensive package.
The bigger issue – at least for me – is that it doesn’t feel all that special, which is surely by design given the hardcore Raptor’s place in the lineup. But then looking at the Honda Civic, there’s a strong distinction between commuter-first versions and the hotted-up Si, not to mention the Type R that outperforms them all. In that way, it feels like the Tremor is missing something to really set it apart. As it sits, it’s really just another F-150.
Whether that’s a criticism or a compliment comes down to prerogative, but it left me wishing for a little more. There’s no denying it looks cool, and it’s got a bit more capability than the average F-150; but it’s not a better truck than, say, a similarly priced Lariat that comes with more daily-friendly features for about the same starting price.
|Engine Cylinders||Turbo V6|
|Peak Horsepower||400 hp @ 6,000 rpm|
|Peak Torque||500 lb-ft @ 3,100 rpm|
|Fuel Economy||14.3 / 11.8 / 13.2 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb|
|Cargo Space||1,677-mm (66-in) cargo bed|
|Model Tested||2022 Ford F-150 Tremor 4WD Supercrew|
|Price as Tested||$90,760|
$25,420 – Tremor High Equipment Group, $16,570; Ford Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0, $2,100; Twin-Panel Sunroof, $1,750; 2.0-kW Pro Power Onboard Inverter, $1,300; Power Tailgate, $800; B&O 12-Speaker Stereo, $800; Torsen Front Differential, $675; Spray-In Bedliner, $600; Interior Work Surface, $400; Rear Underseat Storage, $225; Rear Wheel Well Liners, $200